It’s summer and the temperatures in the Spanish capital are high. Fortunately, Madrid has some refreshing places in which to alleviate the heat. One option is to sit in the shade of the trees in the Retiro park and enjoying the song of the birds while eating some ice cream. Another is to visit the Madrid Río area and get wet from the refreshing jets of water at its urban beach, or spend the day enjoying the water at one of its many public swimming pools. Away from the asphalt and far from the noise and the hurry, there are rivers and lakes. The one at San Juan has nothing to envy of any beach; here there is sand, water and even marinas where the more active visitors can practise their favourite water sport. Madrid doesn’t have a beach, it’s true. But who needs it?
Adrián Carrón / 23 years old
Adrián was born in the neighbouring town of Móstoles, but says he prefers to live in Madrid. In the summer he works as a lifeguard in a private housing estate so as to earn money to pay for his studies in teacher training. He likes just about everything in what he calls his city. “No matter what you do or what you like, you’ll find it here.” When he talks about Madrid, his eyes light up and that permanent smile becomes even more expressive. He thinks that the people who live in this city don’t know how to appreciate it (it sometimes happens that what you have closest to you is what you see the least clearly), but for Adrián, Madrid is a pretty city. During his free time he likes to frequent the bars on the Calle Alonso Martínez with his friends. But he also likes a few beers in the historic city centre, or chatting with his pals in one of the parks. “The Retiro is always surprising,” he notes.
Javier Juárez / 43 years old
Cell phone in hand, as if it were just a part of his body, this Madrid-born bank employee knows just what someone coming to Madrid for the first time should visit: “Calderón stadium!” Javier is a fan of Atleti, as followers of the Atlético de Madrid football team are called, and as soon as he can hang up suit and tie he won’t miss a chance wear one of the shirts of his favourite team or consult the player transfer market. This year the club is leaving what has been its home for 50 years to move to La Peineta stadium, something which has provoked not a few tears. But life goes on, and so does fandom. Javier recommends that people attend at least one game in the Spanish League, which is one of the most important in the world. But if there’s one reason he likes Madrid beyond football, it’s for the enormous cultural offer: musicals, theatre, cinema, exhibits… “To really enjoy it, come in the spring. Madrid is illuminated, it shines. It’s the ideal time.”
Clorinde González / 74 years old
The first time she came to the capital from her native Asturias, in northern Spain, she was impressed. She was a little girl and had come to live with an aunt and uncle because her doctors recommended a dryer climate. It was just going to be for a few months but Clorinde has been here ever since. Here is where she got married and here is where her children and granddaughters were born. Whenever she misses the green of the mountains in Asturias, she packs her bags and goes back to her village. “But only for holidays, understand?”, she says with a laugh. She likes everything about Madrid, but especially the wide range of activities for older people like herself. Visits to museums, guided tours through the most out-of-the-way corners of the city, access to sports facilities, places for older people where they can converse, play cards and dance… “I have no time to be bored, says this Madrileña by adoption who occasionally –but only occasionally– misses the green of the Asturian mountains.